Guillermo León Agudelo

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Radio journalist Agudelo was stabbed to death by two men who had broken into his home in Florencia, a city in the southern Colombian province of Caquetá, police said.

Police initially believed that Agudelo, 47, had been killed during a robbery attempt but later concluded that he had been murdered, with five knife wounds to the chest, after refusing an extortion demand. A police spokesman ruled out any connection between the murder and Agudelo’s work as a journalist for the local radio station La Voz De La Selva (Voice Of The Jungle), an affiliate of the nationwide Caracol radio network.

Florencia was formerly a stronghold of the Marxist guerrilla group, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). More recently, the town has become a power base for right-wing paramilitary groups. Both sides regularly resort to extortion, as do common criminals.

Agudelo, a self-taught journalist, had formerly headed operations at another local radio station in Florencia, Ondas del Orteguaza, which is linked to the national Todelar network. In addition to his journalistic work, he also drove a taxi in Florencia, police said.

Another Florencia-based journalist said Agudelo had once been the director of the town prison and had also served a term as mayor of the town of Montanita, just east of Florencia. The journalist claimed that Agudelo often promoted various political interests on his radio shows. Agudelo was formerly a member of the Conservative Party but later developed close links with the local Liberal Party.

CPJ circulated an alert about the murder on December 14. No arrests had been made at year’s end.